On Saturday, August 24, 2019, the planetary scientists celebrated an annoying anniversary. It took 13 years for Pluto's official definition to change – what was once one of the planets of the solar system was now a modest dwarf planet.
But not everyone agreed with the International Astronomical Union's decision – and now NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has joined the chorus in explaining his support for Pluto's membership in the Solar System Planet Club.
View, Pluto is a planet, "he said during a tour of the Aerospace Engineering building at the University of Colorado Boulder.
" You can write that the NASA administrator has re-plotted Pluto as a planet. I hold on to it. I learned it that way and am committed to it.
My favorite Soundbyte of the day, which probably will not make it on TV, it came from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, and as a Pluto backer, I appreciated that. # 9wx #PlutoLoversRejoice  @JimBridenstine pic.twitter.com/NdfQWW5PSZ
But sometimes planetary scientists have listened to the Pluto Planetary drum beating, and their reasons are considered a bit more, actually much more.
When the IAU struck Pluto off the list of nine planets in the solar system in August 2006, the move was a consequence of their official definitions of Planets and dwarf planets.
There were no official ones before Definitions of these objects that caused problems when astronomer Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology and his colleagues discovered an object that seemed larger than Pluto. (This object was later called a dwarf planet and named after the Greek goddess of strife and discord Eris.)
The difference between a planet and a dwarf planet that changed Pluto's status? Pluto – as he hangs in the asteroid field of the Kuiper belt – has not "freed the neighborhood for its orbit" from other rocks.
This helped solve the perceived problem of other objects around Pluto's size, one of which may have hundreds. If Pluto was in the Planet Club, what was stopping the rest of the reef from doing so?
Planet scientist Alan Stern, head of NASA's New Horizon mission, loudly expressed his disappointment over the decision to separate Pluto from the planet since then.
"My conclusion is that the IAU definition is not only unworkable and can not be taught, but is so scientifically flawed and contradictory that it does not strongly oppose claims of scientific sloppiness," austerity "and compulsive classification he wrote in September 2006.
"The New Horizons Project, like a growing number of the public and many hundreds, if not thousands, of professional research astronomers and planetary scientists, will be the IAU's planetary resolution resolution of August 24, 2006 do not acknowledge. "
And so he does not. In fact, earlier this year he debated about Ron Ekers of the IAU and defended the planetary status of Pluto.
It's not just that only 424 out of some 9,000 IAU members voted in favor of the resolution, nor did the hundreds of planetary researchers immediately file a petition against it.
Pluto also has its own multi-layered atmosphere, organic compounds, weather and moons.
Landscapes – rocky mountain ranges and vast plains. It has avalanches, maybe pluto quays, maybe even liquid oceans. And that the definition based on deleting orbits has no historical value.
And even if this were the case, one could argue that other planets have not cleared their neighborhoods – there are many asteroids hanging around both the Earth and Jupiter's orbits (though not nearly as many as that Kuiper Belt.)
Scientists argued last year that a planet should be defined as an object large enough to become a sphere.
"It turns out that this is an important milestone in Europe, the evolution of a planetary body, because it apparently initiates an active geology in the body," said the planetary physicist Philip Metzger of the University of Central Florida.
So far, the IAU has shown no signs of setback. but not even Pluto's supporters. Maybe Bridenstine, joining Team Pluto, will renew the fight. And we stand ready to welcome our hundreds of new planetary friends.